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Thread: Modular vs Semi vs Non Modular

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    Default Modular vs Semi vs Non Modular

    From my understanding, the difference between modular, semi modular, and non modular power supplies are all about how many power cables are sticking out of the power supply unit.

    Modular means that there are no cables sticking out and instead you plug your cables (which come with the power supply unit??) into the appropriate power slot.

    Non modular means that instead of having slots to plug your cables into, the power supply already has a bunch of cables coming out from it.

    Finally, semi modular is a combination of both modular and non modular meaning only essential cables that are required for every computer (ie motherboard, hard drive, cpu) are sticking out of the power supply. There are also slots available for you to plug in additional power cables for additional devices (ie fans, additional drives, gpus).

    Everyone I have talked to says to get a modular power supply as they are easier to install due to less cable management. I am planning to get a Thor V2 case which has half an inch of space behind the motherboard to route/hide your cables. I'm wondering if that will be enough space to hide my cables if I went non modular or semi modular?

    In addition, are modular generally more expensive? If so, why would someone pick a modular power supply over a semi modular power supply? All computers require power for their hard drive, cpu, motherboard, so therefore regardless of your other components you are always required to power those devices.

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    Default

    It depends on what PSU you get exactly, i.e. how many connectors it has. But anyway, many people have done a proper cable management with a non-modular PSU even in smaller cases.

    As for the modular vs semi-modular - for most people full modularity isn't necessary. But there are folks that'd would want to, for example, re-sleeve all the cables (to make them look better) - and full modular PSUs are far easier to re-sleeve, as you don't have to open the unit and void the warranty.
    Last edited by yojo2; 11-17-2012 at 04:35 PM.
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    To be honest, the difference between Semi-Modular and Fully Modular is usually only the 24-pin ATX, the 8-pin CPU header, and maybe one or two PCI-E or SATA cables on lower end units.

    Fully modular's big benefit is making it easier to install and route all the cables, as you can plug them in the motherboard side first, then behind the motherboard tray, and then at the very end you install your PSU and plug in all the cables at once.

    With Semi-Modular, you do the same thing, but at the last stage, you have to run the 8-pin and 24-pin the other direction, which isn't hard and doesn't take much time, but means you have to plan your cable routing a bit more carefully.

    I personally don't like using fixed cable PSUs much anymore, as I always have a huge bundle of cables to hide somewhere. My home system uses one SATA cable, two PCI-E cables, and the 24-pin and 8-pin mentioned. If it weren't modular I'd have like 4-6 extra cords zip tied up just sitting somewhere in the case.

    Now they're in a drawer next to the desk should I decide I want to add more components or something.

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    Default

    Modular PSUs are also referred to as "Full(y) Modular", and semi-modular ones are usually just called "Modular". Sometimes you get less cables than your modular PSU can accept, Enermax (for example) love doing this. Sometimes you get more (Seasonic X-series, for instance, you can use either 2 x 8-pin EPS12V or 2 x 8-pin PCI-E, or 1 x PCI-E + 1 x EPS12V). But the point is, you reduce cable clutter by only using the ones you currently need.

    Depending on how cables are sleeved, half an inch is usually plenty of room to tuck them behind the motherboard tray.

    Modular PSUs are usually 5-10$ more expensive than their non-modular equals. The difference used to be bigger, but now non-modularity is reserved only for budget/value units.

    What you as a consumer gain by going for modular is up to you. Some people need/want it as a means of avoiding/lessening cable mess. Others like being able to swap PSUs quickly, either for testing purposes, or in the event of a failure or upgrade. Modders like that modular cables are easier to work with when customizing sleeving on them. It also allows them to keep their warranty. Some people simply like the concept and that's enough for them... You decide how modularity may or may not benefit you or your usage scenario.

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    Default

    I would even say there are four kinds of modularity:

    Fully modular - ALL cables detachable (like Seasonic X, Corsair AX, OCZ ZT or ZX)
    Mostly modular (I call them simply modular) - hardwired main ATX cable, maybe one or two CPU cables and maybe one or two PCI-E cables, ie. connectors you're using anyway (most modular PSUs are like that)
    Hybrid - has also hardwired Molex/SATA cables (like Corsair TXM or Antec Truepower New)
    Fully hardwired - obvious.

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    Sometimes the non modular PSU has an advantage. When you need to add a fan into you case, you will place it between two cables, and it will hold it vibration free.

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    Hehe... I've mounted one of the fans in my case using a double-sided tape. That works too :P
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    Default

    Great. Thanks for the tips guys

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    Since no one directly answered it, I have both the Thor & Thor v2; you can stuff even stuff the cables of a non-modular 1000w unit (PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK2 950) behind that mobo-tray with enough patience.

    It has plenty of tie-downs & space to hold even the most complex systems.

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    Default

    The problem with most semi-modular PSU's is the PCIE cable most of them have, and the additional 4-pin ATX12V or a 4+4 ATX12V/EPS12V.

    With graphics cards that many people use, the PCIE cable is not necessary -- the cards get their power from the motherboard. With the integrated graphics in the new Intel chips, that PCIE cable is really not necessary.

    And I can never figure out why some of the semi-modular PSU's come with extra ATX/EPS12V. It just seems weird. Maybe Redbeard has an answer. Do such things actually add sales?
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